Working under pressure? Coping with stress is possible

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs
Stress is a part of life, in the workplace is no exception. If they're honest, most people would admit that there are days when occupational stress is overwhelming.

Capt. Mindy Davis, Robins Mental Health Clinic's Alcohol Drug Prevention and Treatment Program officer in charge, said a stressor is an event that causes a stress response.  Stress is the body's physiological response to the stressor.

"The body has a natural chemical response to a threat or demand, which is commonly known as the flight or fight reaction," she said. "Once the threat or demand is over, the body returns to its natural state."

Davis said occupational stress can affect your health and functioning when the stressors of the workplace exceed your ability to have some control over the situation or to cope with the stress.   

Occupational Stressors :
Shift Work 
Program changes 
Loss of personnel/under staffing 
Limited resources 
Having no interest in job/boredom 
High demands/workload 
Negative work environment or harassment.

"Acute, or short-term, stress causes an immediate reaction in the body," Davis said. "If the threat or demand passes quickly, the body generally returns to normal. However, with prolonged stress, many health problems can develop."

Physical symptoms of such stress include: headaches, high blood pressure, stomach problems, eating disorders, sleep disturbances, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, and chronic mild illnesses.

Psychological and behavioral symptoms can include: anxiety; irritability; low morale or burnout; depression; alcohol and drug use or abuse; domestic violence; suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

Davis said managing stress is about taking charge of what you can control and learning to become flexible regarding the things you can't.

"To manage stress, identify what causes you stress and resolve to make realistic, healthy changes," she said. 

Tips for managing stress: 
Get quality sleep 
Schedule relaxation time daily 
Eat a balanced, nutritious diet and exercise regularly 
Reduce causes of stress  Set attainable personal goals 
Connect with your support system and wingman 
Have fun and try to laugh more 
Seek help when needed.